Opening Day Prev...Oh, Come On, Giants

The job of a manager isn't easy. There are short-term pressures wrapped in a crispy shell of long-term pressures. I don't think any of us can really understand that. I empathize. I try to look at things from the manager's perspective, I really do.

But Bochy reiterated that he will not yo-yo Belt in and out of the lineup. The talented first baseman will get every opportunity to settle in, the manager said. And he'll be in the lineup Wednesday, after the entire team takes Tuesday off.

That's from Andrew Baggarly earlier this week.

But Bochy reiterated that he will not yo-yo Belt in and out of the lineup. The talented first baseman will get every opportunity to settle in, the manager said. And he'll be in the lineup Wednesday, after the entire team takes Tuesday off.

Since that article, Brandon Belt was inserted into a game on a double-switch in the third inning of a game. Then he was pulled out on a double-switch in the fifth inning. He didn't start the next game. And against James McDonald, a right-handed pitcher, he isn't starting again.

I had made my peace with Belt not starting to open the season. I didn't agree that he belonged in Fresno, but regular at-bats and daily play were preferable to him sitting on the bench. Fine. Understood. Agree to disagree. Let's start the season.

But then something amazing happened. The Giants actually made room for Belt. They actually figured that, based on his minor-league performance, his winter-league performance, and his spring performance, that he was a player with a chance to help the team more than one or both of the incumbents blocking him. The Giants had a historically wretched offense last year. Aubrey Huff and Nate Schierholtz did not help that cause. The Giants made a progressive move, then, executing a low-risk, high-reward move by putting Belt in the lineup.

The risk? That Belt is terrible. But Huff and Schierholtz carry the same risk. The reward is certainly great, though. I don't see how there's anyone who could argue that Schierholtz has more potential reward -- there shouldn't be any Schierholtz-related surprises left. And there is a potential reward with Huff, too. We saw it in 2010. But we have to weigh his age and his 2011 against that.

So just when I figured the Giants were going to put Belt in Fresno and make the decision they were expected to make, Belt made the team. And I figured that they might actually try something new. They might even take a risk to help an offense that was completely moribund last year.

But Bochy reiterated that he will not yo-yo Belt in and out of the lineup. The talented first baseman will get every opportunity to settle in, the manager said.

Belt was pulled in a double-switch after two innings. Then he sat for the next two games.

But Bochy reiterated that he will not yo-yo Belt in and out of the lineup. The talented first baseman will get every opportunity to settle in, the manager said.

I was cool with him not starting the season on the roster. I was cool with him plying his trade in Fresno. Somehow, the Giants figured out a way to screw with him more than that.

Buster Posey started his 2010 season by hitting .429/.462/.612. Over his next 12 games, he was 7-for-48 with a walk and eight strikeouts. In the last game of that sequence, he struck out three times against Vincente Padilla. If he had started his career like that, do you really think the Giants would have stuck with him? And would he have been the shoo-in for the starting catching job in 2011? Honest question. We can't know for sure. I have an idea, though. This is the least patient organization in the game when it comes to rookies.

Brandon Belt got three games. Best of luck, kid. Huff is hitting .200/.368/.333, and Nate had two home runs in Coors, so you can see how the Giants' hands are tied.

But Bochy reiterated that he will not yo-yo Belt in and out of the lineup. The talented first baseman will get every opportunity to settle in, the manager said.
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